Surely not another group-stage exit? Barcelona winners, losers and ratings as Inter loss damages Champions League dreams

Gavi Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images

They might be sitting top of La Liga, but Barcelona's chances of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League were dealt a severe blow on Tuesday as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Inter.

Hakan Calhanoglu scored the only goal of the game, firing in from the edge of the area in first-half stoppage time, and though they dominated possession throughout, Barca could not find a way through.

Pedri thought he had equalised midway through the second half, but he saw his goal ruled out after VAR spotted a handball by Ansu Fati in the build-up.

The officials were not Barca's friend on the night, as they were also denied a last-minute penalty when replays seemed to show that substitute Denzel Dumfries had handled in the area.

The result leaves Barca with just three points from their opening three group matches, and a win in the return fixture against Inter at Camp Nou is now imperative if they are to avoid a second successive group-stage exit.

  • Pedri Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images

    The Winners


    By a distance the best Barcelona player on the night, Pedri was at the heart of everything good that the visitors produced in San Siro, and would have been deserving of his goal had it not been ruled out for an Ansu Fati handball. Pedri was regularly fouled as he skipped away from Inter pressure, and if he maintains this level, then he will soon be regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world (if he isn't already!).

    Simone Inzaghi:

    Under intense pressure after a disappointing start to the Serie A season, the Inter boss got the better of Xavi on the night to secure a slight edge in his side's battle with Barca for qualification alongside Bayern Munich. The decision to play the more defensively-minded Matteo Darmian over Denzel Dumfries helped neutralise Raphinha and Marcos Alonso's threat, and he knows a draw in Camp Nou next week could prove to be enough to help the Nerazzurri reach the last 16.

    Karim Benzema:

    With the first Clasico of the season just 12 days away, Barca could barely have picked a worse time to have a defensive injury crisis. Andreas Christensen had to go off with an ankle problem here, and if he is forced to join Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde on the sidelines for any decent length of time, then Benzema will be licking his lips ahead of October 16's meeting at Santiago Bernabeu.

  • Raphinha Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images

    The Losers


    At his best, Raphinha is absolutely thrilling to watch, but at San Siro he cut a frustrated figure as he struggled to make an impact on the game. The Brazil winger tends to produce his best performances when able to cut inside from the right, but Xavi chose to play him from the left against Inter and he was far less effective. For long periods he found himself sitting deep as Marcos Alonso bombed on before eventually being replaced just after the hour mark.

    Sergio Busquets:

    Busquets remains a decent operator in La Liga, but questions might start to be asked of whether the 34-year-old can be relied upon in the biggest games after the part he played in Calhanoglu's goal. Busquets was guilty of ball-watching, leaving the Turkey international with acres of room to take a touch and rifle a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Busquets did his best to get across and block, but there is no doubt he was out of position.

    Robert Lewandowski:

    Having scored in each of his last six league matches, Lewandowski could barely have come into this game in better form, but he was largely on the fringes of things as Barca struggled to provide him with adequate service. The Poland star has never scored at San Siro, and he will hope for more opportunities in the return fixture next week.

  • Andreas Christensen Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images

    Barcelona Ratings: Defence

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6/10):

    Good early save denied Calhanoglu from range but powerless to stop the same player from opening the scoring.

    Sergi Roberto (6/10):

    Solid enough but does not provide enough cutting edge going forward.

    Eric Garcia (5/10):

    Fortunate not to concede a penalty in the first half, and though he played some eye-catching passes, still some defensive question marks.

    Andreas Christensen (6/10):

    Kept Lautaro Martinez relatively quiet before being forced off with an injury early in the second half.

    Marcos Alonso (5/10):

    Spent almost the entire first half around the Inter penalty area but struggled to create any chances of note.

  • Gavi Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images


    Gavi (6/10):

    Gradually cut a more frustrated figure as things didn't go the teenager's way, and he allowed his frustrations to boil over at times.

    Sergio Busquets (5/10):

    Caught out of position for Calhanoglu's goal and struggled to track back when Inter launched counter-attacks.

    Pedri (8/10):

    Showed some outstanding touches in midfield to escape the Inter press and set up Barca attacks.

  • Robert Lewandowski Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images


    Ousmane Dembele (7/10):

    Looked the most likely Barca player to make something happen, and saw a shot brilliantly tipped onto the post by Andre Onana in the second half.

    Robert Lewandowski (5/10):

    Largely anonymous as Barca struggled to provide the final ball into their in-form striker.

    Raphinha (4/10):

    Was forced way too deep on the left-hand side and never really threatened before being replaced in the second half.

  • Xavi Barcelona 2022-23Getty Images

    Subs & Manager

    Gerard Pique (6/10):

    The veteran was solid in relief of Christensen after replacing the injured Dane.

    Ansu Fati (5/10):

    Inadvertent handball caused Pedri's goal to be disallowed.

    Alejandro Balde (6/10):

    Showed good energy down the left after replacing Alonso.

    Franck Kessie (N/A):

    Replaced Gavi for the final 10 minutes.

    Xavi (5/10):

    Left it too late to switch Raphinha from the left to the right, and then substituted him just as he was growing into the game.